April 23, 2010
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
A strain of potentially lethal airborne fungus recently discovered in Oregon may soon spread to California and other neighboring areas, scientists warn.
Several people in Oregon have died after being infected with the new VGIIc genotype of Cryptococcus gattii. In the 21 Pacific Northwest cases analyzed by researchers, the strain has a death rate of about 25 percent.
“This novel fungus is worrisome because it appears to be a threat to otherwise healthy people. Typically, we see this fungal disease associated with transplant recipients and HIV-infected patients, but that is not what we are seeing,” said Edmond Byrnes III, a graduate student in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, in a news release.